Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peachy Keen

Band members:
Dominique Otto – Vocals and Guitar
Alex Wise: Keys, Vocals, Tamborine
Brandon “Slim Anus” Shore – Drums
Greg Abrahams – Double Bass
Nicolas H – Lead Guitar

I like girls, even more than liking girls I like girls with tattoos. But the holy grail of those girl creatures that I like is the girls with tattoos that rock the fuck out. The girls of Peachy Keen are just that. And well worth waiting for, I soon discover on arrival at Kill City Blues Preproduction and Rehearsal Studios in Cape Town. I buzz in, 6 o’clock on the dot. I’m punctual like that on occasion. And head for the bar to find out from Marne which room they’re practicing in. With information acquired I head for the studio at the end of the windy corridor, where I run into Brandon, AKA Slim, drummer and manager of Peachy Keen. A Durban expat who caught the Cape Town city buzz and never left. After a brief introduction we hit the bar, my gracious host spotting me a Zamalek, as we wait for the rest of the band to arrive. Joe Jackson plays in the duke box of my mind “I got a girl who is always late, every time we have a date, but I love her....” Definitely my sort of band. There’s something creepy about a band that is punctual as a whole. It gives me the feeling of clockwork dolls with beady eyes, staring down at me from a shelf in a darkened room. It’s just unnatural. Some people would call it professional. But with creatives, it just isn’t the same. It’s a fashionably late statement of some genre.
The girls, those lovely lady beings in question, the rockers whose arrival we are currently waiting for, met through the band scene, back in the day, both playing for different ska bands. But what they really wanted was to start a band together. That idea was put on ice until January 2010 when they decided: stuff it. Enough screwing around. Let’s do this thing. In their own words: “It was time to make this dream a reality!” And from that point they spent three nights a week together getting into the nitty gritty’s of song writing. “Some songs were shit, others we loved, and finally we got a set together.” Phase one complete, captain. Next step! Members! The first of which turned out to be Slim. Who was stumbled upon by through drunken dance and a love of The Beatles. It was love at first sight. He was THE ONE. Next came Greg, “The Talent,” as Slim describes him; found through the University of Cape Town network. And he rocked up at practice with his big double bass and his chilled out and friendly demeanour and the girls had found another keeper (Geez lucky girls, if only romance was as easy for everyone). After a litany of guitarist - six or seven to be imprecise - Dom’s cousin, Nicolas H was recently imported from Canada and cleared through customs. To arrive with the rest of the band a solid 20 minutes late.

More beer is bought, introductions made, and the band starts setting up; amidst the smell of man sweat from the previous band. I sit in the corner and observe, sipping on beer and fiddling with my camera settings. Greg is double bassless today, playing a five string cherry red court. But he’s still giving my imaginary member hard on as he warms up with some jazzy blues scales.
The band adjourns briefly from set up for a smoke break and a discussion about their upcoming radio interview with Liesel Van De Westhuizen the following Wednesday, the equipment needed for the gig on Saturday, and the upcoming Cape Town Tattoo Convention. It’s 18:44 and I still haven’t bared witness to the band as a whole, but I’m enjoying the banter and the company none the less.

And then the moment arrives. Back in the band room, a blues jam kicks in. I let out a deep sigh in reminiscence of the Death Valley days. With warm up jam over the real music begins. And my skirt is well and truly blown up around my head. Dom has an amazing sultry country voice, which makes my none existent leg hairs tingle. Slim grooves a power shuffle. Alex multi tasks between keys, the tambourine and vocals, another truly impressive voice. Aside from her dexterous and melodic key playing abilities. And I’m hoping that Nic is the guitarist that they keep. He rocks on the slide. All in all they culminate into one of the sickest rockabilly sounds I’ve heard in a long while. These ladies know how to rock. This band knows how to rock. This is how Tiger Army would sound if they were crossed with rock n roll sensibility and smooth fem vocals.  But better. It’s “Here in the Orchard” but it makes you want to do the twist. The band busts into the next song. A straight up rockabilly number with a pop edge that will have you singing “I’ll be your baby, I’ll be your little dove” and tapping your foot for days after. I know this from experience.  
After a few more tunes that I wish I had to take home in my car with me, the time comes for me to leave, I have to catch Dave Ferguson playing up the up the road. But I leave the studio in with a sense of anticipation about the gig at Zula Bar on Saturday. Which in retrospect was epic. They totally blew Cassette out of the water. Performance wise, dress wise, and music wise.

I left that night feeling inspired, but this is an inspiring outfit. So, I’ll leave you with some fine words of wisdom from this band on the up. The first on being female muso’s in a male dominated industry: “We are firm believers that one should never rest one’s laurels and get by that way. As females in the scene we have to work hard to prove ourselves. You can’t just be a pretty face on stage and expect people to listen up. You gotto work it!”
 And the second to all bands wanting to get somewhere: “Find the music that you love playing and give it all you’ve got! Also work on your image, how you want the band to be portrayed. Get a good photographer and do a rad shoot. You’d be surprised at how much that helps! Network and approach people for sponsorships, even if you get shut down. You have to be thick skinned. Do what you love and love what you do!”
The band would like to thank LMG magazine, Sailor Jerry who saw potential and sponsored them before they’d even played a show. Tyler B. Murphy of Sin of Style Tattoos, who has taken them on board and does the band artwork. And MissHapp clothing.
Catch this awesome band on tour in Jozi April 1st and 2nd 2010, with the Bone Collectors and The Carniwhores. It’s going to be a rockabilly road show of note.

(This article was originally published in Vixxen March 2011
Promo Photo by Sweet Nausea Photography
Live photography By Cami Scoundrel

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